Those who are affected by the actions of a drug or alcohol addict may feel helpless when it comes to aiding their loved one. The relatives of a drug or alcohol addict most likely do not have the tools necessary to address the many and varied problems experienced by drug or alcohol addicts. While their intentions are good, they may not have any means to turn their good intentions into effective action. One thing they can do, however, is have a family intervention. This can be the first step towards addressing drug and alcohol addiction problems.

A family intervention is when one or more people who are related to a drug or alcohol addict get together with the addict to talk about their concerns. This kind of meeting can be very informal, as in the relatives meeting with the addict under normal circumstances and simply bringing up the topic. The relatives may, however, want to plan something more formal and targeted to the issue at hand. In this case, the structure and the goals of the meeting should be worked out well in advance.

If the relatives of a drug or alcohol addict decide to go forward with this more formal type of family intervention, care should be taken to make it as non-confrontational and as loving as possible. The relatives should remember that the drug or alcohol addict they are trying to help might not be aware that he or she has a problem. The addict may find the suggestion that they have a problem uncomfortable, or even unbelievable. It is vital that the relatives communicate that one of the purposes of the meeting is simply to let the addict know that they are loved, and that they have choices.

A family intervention can be a means of beginning the process of sobriety, or at least the process of realization in the addict that he or she has a problem that needs to be addressed. When a family intervention is performed with care, it can also serve the purpose of assuring the relatives of the addict feel that they are not completely powerless to help their loved one.